Wiltshire waste site operator fined £200k for illegal operations
Lee Averies is currently serving a five-year ban from the waste industry and a three-year prison sentence suspended for two years after committing environmental offences at three sites: Swindon Skips Ltd at Brindley Close, Cheney Manor; Averies Recycling (Swindon) Ltd at Marshgate in Swindon; and his waste site in Calne that he operated with his brother, David Averies.
The offences related to the treating, keeping and disposing of waste in a way that could cause pollution and harm to the environment and human health. The two sites at Brindley Close and Marshgate suffered serious fires in 2013 and 2014 respectively, while the storage of fire-affected waste at the Calne site broke the conditions of its waste permit.
At Swindon Crown Court on Monday (18 March), £200,000 was recovered by the Environment Agency (EA) from Averies under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, with the prospect of a custodial sentence if the amount is not paid within three months.
Averies, who has had seven of his personal and business bank accounts frozen at a previous hearing, was ordered by Judge Jason Taylor QC to pay an additional £15,000 towards the EA’s legal and investigation costs, while his company, Calne Aggregates Holdings Ltd, which is currently in liquidation, was given a nominal penalty of £1.
David Averies was also fined £4,208 and ordered to pay £50,000 in costs by the court in 2016.
Commenting on the case, Colin Chiverton, Environment Manager for the EA in Wiltshire, said: “The Environment Agency will do everything in its power to prevent waste crime and punish those who profit from it.
“Our extensive investigation found companies linked to Lee Averies earned significant amounts of money from stockpiling waste, and failing to exercise proper controls over the sites. He benefited personally.
“We have ensured neither Averies nor his businesses operate any permitted waste sites, or become registered waste-carriers, such as providing skips for hire. Averies remains subject to a five-year criminal behaviour order, preventing him from any involvement in the waste business until 2021.
“In the past four years, EA officers have worked with other agencies like the Insolvency Service and the Traffic Commissioner, which oversees HGV licences, to investigate other offences.”